Day 3 - Wednesday, 26th January
Rain seemed to have fallen constantly through the night, and was still doing so at 7:30 after breakfast. Always looking on the bright side, this also seemed to have kept human disturbance on the beach to a minimum. I spent just over an hour getting shots of the few species of seabirds from the waters edge. These consisted of 3 types, with Magnificent Frigatebirds in abundance, and also the odd Brown Booby passing by quite close to the shore. There was also a small collection of 4-5 Kelp Gulls early on, and the strange sight of 2 Tropical Kingbirds hopping around the sand looking for insects on the ground. As the hour progressed, the rain slowed almost to a stop, although the clouds overhead seemed to indicate that this would be anything but a dry day.
As we departed the hotel at 9:30 and travelled North to our embarkation point for the cruise, the weather gradually deteriorated to a rain soaked day. From the coach, Smooth-billed Anis could be seen in some numbers when the last of the ramshackled buildings of the city were finally left behind, but not much else was to be seen. The boat pulled up at the dock in the continuing deluge, and we were at first glad to see that there was a cover over it. This only handed out a marginal respite, however, since the higher winds at sea provided ample opportunity for a soaking. The cruise lasted around 2 hours, and through the murk we made out Crested Caracaras on top of the predicted passing Brown Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds. Once at the island, we made straight for the covered restaurant and its tantalising delicacies. While tucking into the nosh, the rain gradually reduced to a light sprinkle, and we made the most of the last hour on the island. The island we were on was part of an 18 mile chain of sandbanks and tropical islands off the coast, and was quite small (probably no more than 100-200 metres in length), and seemed to consist of 2 joined hillocks which were tree covered. One of these hillocks had a path to the summit, and it was this that we climbed for our short birding session.
Despite the small size of the island, it did hold an interesting population of birds, some of which were only seen here. Among the usual noise and sight of the ubiquitous Bananaquits, we found Tanagers in the form of Brazilian & Sayaca (with a yellow/orange headed grey species later to be identified as Orange-headed Tanager), a couple of Red-eyed Thornbirds, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Velvety Black-tyrant, and a female Masked Yellowthroat. On the initial ascent, we had disturbed a Yellow-headed Caracara from its treetop perch.
The journey back was uneventful, and slightly drier, but we did see a tree full of Roseate Spoonbills on the approach to Rio.